We have this tendency to associate honesty with giving an honest answer to a direct question. In the strictest sense, this is of course correct but honesty is about much more. What’s more, we know this!
Honesty is about telling your boss that you are planning on leaving 3 months down the line, it’s about being honest with your partner about doubts in the relationship, it’s about being honest with yourself that you are not what you make yourself out to be to your friends.
Being honest is about being forthcoming with information you know will directly influence the lives of other people. Even when this causes you to suffer. This is why we lie, so we can reduce the amount we have to suffer. This is why we don’t have difficult the conversations.
I have lost count of the occasions where white lies have been an issue. If I’m being honest, these aren’t ways of saving feelings, this is a cowardly, lazy way of dealing with other humans. Being honest is about seeing situations play out further down the line and giving people the right information that will be useful to them, with that in mind.
People see through bullshit a mile away despite how subtle you believe you are. Not to typecast a job role but if you’ve ever socially engaged with a competent salesperson you’ll have experienced this. Being familiar with said situation, you’ll associate that with a sense of unease. It’s difficult to feel comfortable speaking with someone who’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes. This isn’t necessarily to trick you out of money but to trick your senses into believing they are someone they’re not. Is this as a result of our own sense of ego along with inferiority complex? That’s a different matter entirely. All we must be concerned with is our own idea of honesty.
If you are still in doubt of when to speak the truth, let the words of Marcus Aurelius be your guiding light.
Just that you do the right thing, the rest doesn’t matter.